NEW YORK – This early, the number of entries to the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc.’s (PIDCI) search for the 2010 Diwa ng Kalayaan (Spirit of Independence) has reached 11, considered a record high compared to previous years. Last year, there were seven candidates.
PIDCI President “Doc” Bernie de la Merced and Catherine Uy, board member and chairperson of this year’s search committee, expect the number of candidates to grow to 15.
The early registrants range in age from 16 to 22 years and in height from five feet and taller. They are Jessica Bolandrina, Camille Cezar, Chelsea Evangelista, Purita Gonzalez, Janine Ashley Jacob, Justine Omilig, Denise Rendor, Nia Rodriguez, Alyssa Roldan, Sara Sarmiento, Christine Soriano and Ina Toribio.
Organizers attribute this year’s record to sustained promotion of the Diwa ng Kalayaan over the years since its launching in 1991. The program is considered by many in the Filipino and Filipino-American community as the leading beauty, brains and talent competition and as a mainstay event of the annual commemoration of Philippine Independence in New York.
A big attraction is the contest’s top prize of a round-trip airline ticket to the Philippines, with land arrangements, and as Ambassador of Goodwill representing PIDCI and the Filipino and Filipino-American community. While in the recent past, the Diwa ng Kalayaan travels as part of the Philippine Government’s Ambassador’s, Consul Generals’ and Tourism Director’s official Tour to the Philippines, this year she will join the tour that was designated only as the Tourism Director’s Tour to the Philippines.
One highlight of this tour is an official visit to Malacañang, the Presidential Palace, with the tour delegation, to meet the newly-elected President of the Philippines. There are other prizes for the Diwa ng Kalayaan as well as her court.
Final judging of the search for Diwa ng Kalayaan is scheduled at the Imperial Ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Meadowlands Hotel & Exhibition Center at Two Harmon Plaza in Secaucus, New Jersey 07094-2802 on Sunday, April 25 from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m.
The adjudged Diwa ng Kalayaan will reign during the months-long, multi-event 112th anniversary commemoration of the declaration of Philippine Independence.
For invitations to the Diwa ng Kalayaan Selection and Coronation Pageant and Gala, please call Committee Chairperson Cathy Uy at (732) 605-1990, (732) 687-2413; or Co-Chairs Joji Jalandoni at (201) 401-7559, Elvira Reyes at (551) 208-4986, Alexandra Uy at (732) 687-1274, Renee Lago at (201) 233-2603, Tony Abellar at (973) 704-0191, or Jeannette Mojares at (908) 627-1954, Rudy Mariano at (860) 848-7055 or (203) 988-4937; or PIDCI President “Doc” Bernie dela Merced at (973) 699-1849 or (973) 893-0292.